View Full Version : questions....

07-07-2005, 02:32 PM
Hello Everyone! I sure hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!

I am new to this site (sorry if I'm posting in the wrong forum) and to pastels.

I drew a picture of Bryce Canyon for my drawing class last semester using mostly water soluble pastels and water soluble colored pencils, with a little bit of charcoal and a couple of details in oil based colored pencils and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

In order to enter it into the student art show I had to put it into a frame and I found one that went really well with it. I couldn't afford a nice mat though so I used some really nice colored drawing paper that picked up one of the purples in it EXACTLY.

I'm really happy with the way that it looks in the frame and it's really neat having some art displayed in the house that I actually created, however I'm worried about it now -

you see, a friend told me about a seqment on 'antiques roadshow' (or maybe just something like it) that she'd seen with an old pastel work which was basically smearing and dissolving :eek: because the mat didn't hold the glass far enough away (they said at least 1/4 of an inch) from the surface of the artwork.

So now for my questions:

1.) Is a modern work that's been sprayed with a final fixative at risk of that kind of damage and do I need to re-mat it with a thicker mat or is it okay.

2.) If I do need to re-mat it, do I have to buy one of the expensive ones that they sell in art stores or is there a good cheap alternative that anyone can recommend?

Thank you all for any advice and help you can give me!

Piper Ballou
07-07-2005, 03:33 PM
Hope I can help you here.
about fixatives- that is a personal thing I believe. My first paintings I used fixative but now choose not too. One, it makes the colors darder and since I use Wallis paper I do not feel the need to apply fixative to the painting, if you do, use Sennelier's fixative, (some people may say that you can use hair spray...no, no, no) once I frame it and put in under glass there is no need for fixative.

Matting- leave a minumum space of 3/16 between the mat and the glass, using two mats does this for you, this leaves dead air space and reduces static electricity, if you do not then it builds up and pulls the pastels onto the glass....yes, you need to use glass.
If you only use one mat then you need to put a spacer of some kind under the mat to give you the extra space

Some will say mat types do not matter, but I have only use acid free mats now (my husband does my framing and matting for me and he will not use anything else) acid free mats will not turn yellow or damage your painting over time.

You want your painting to look really nice and you want to stand back and look at in the show with pride...my advice do not short change yourself, if you get cheap matting now you thinking you will change it later you probably will not (speaking from experience)
good luck...and hope you will post your painting in soft pastels, we would love to see it
hoped I helped

07-07-2005, 03:43 PM
When you say water soluable pastels - are you referring to water soluble oil pastels, watercolour crayons or regualr soft pastels?

I imagine that the instance that your friend saw on Antiques Roadshow was soft pastel and if it wasn't framed properly with the spacing etc, I can see it getting smudged (dissolving, i don't know about that unless they meant the paper).

07-07-2005, 04:03 PM
wow! Thank you both for your super quick replies!

The pastels I'm using are a soft chalk-type that are water soluble so that you can actually mix a broken off piece with water and use it as a water color paint. You can also draw with the pastel (and the water soluble pencils for that matter) and then go back over it with a brush that's been dipped with water to give the water color effect. Adding water also seems to make the colors brighter.

For my pastel painting of Bryce I left it as a pastel rather than changing it with water.

I managed to take a pic of it when it was in the student art show with my cheap (relatively speaking, that is!) digital camera and saved it to my computer but I don't know how to upload the picture to my post here.

If I can figure out how to do it then I'll be delighted to post it!

-Diane (sharqi-attack)

K Taylor-Green
07-07-2005, 04:13 PM
Welcome to the Pastel Forum, Diane! I hope to get to see your painting soon!

Piper Ballou
07-07-2005, 04:28 PM
Diane, okay, you are going to see what a computer dork I am about posting photos..
go to the top of the screen and you will see a blue bar just under your name on the right
click on where it says Quick links, go to the bottom of the little pop out that says image uploader, click on that, another box will appear on your screen, hit browse and it will take you to the file in your computer(well, you will have to find it there where you have your photo saved to)....you may need to resize your painting- cannot be bigger then 500 by 600 pixels (think that is what they are called) once you do that hit Up Load and you should be all set..
good luck...hope it works
and welcome to pastels

07-07-2005, 04:39 PM
Thank You!
I hope I can figure this out pretty soon, too. I found a helpful thread in the wearable art forum but I guess my existing picture uses too much memory or something.
And for some reason the computer isn't recognizing the camera for me to download a different pic. (maybe my old computer is experiencing a temporary form of 'computer alzheimers'?) So I guess I'll spend a little more time trying to figure out my little camera and the computer and see if I can take a really good picture - that won't make the computer tilt!
I probably have to restart the computer with the camera hooked up to it to download a better pic of my painting - which may mean that I can't get online again for the rest of the day - or more if my sweetie gets to the computer first tomorrow morning or Sat.... If that's the case then I wish you all a fabulous weekend and I'll try again next week!

07-07-2005, 04:55 PM

well, I tried the resizing thing. I'm not very good with computers so if this works it's entirely thanks to your wonderful help!

This is one of the pics I took of my painting while it was on the wall at Valley College Art Gallery for the student show. I apologize for the glare but they had a lot of lights in there so everybodys projects would show well. You may actually see more of the works on the opposite wall in the reflection off the glass than you'll see of mine.

I'll keep trying to get a better pic.

I titled it "Castles In The Sand".

Thanks again for all of your help!!!!

07-07-2005, 07:00 PM

I don't know from which country you are but here a matt is not «that» expensive.
You can also try online stores like Dick Blick or ASW Express.
Now, I'm talking about framing shops, NOT art galleries that provide framing services-those are much more expensive.
Of course that price is always relative. For insteance, I don't make money with my works, so altough I use archival paper, good quality pastels and non acid matt, I don't use other top materials. But since I think that it's difficult to build a good reputation and easy to loose it, if a work of mine should sell for, let's say....3000 dollars, then I would even use museum glass and would offer something that I think it would be very interesting : upon a small fee, I would retouch the painting in case of an incident with the painting.



07-09-2005, 01:35 PM
Hello Bringer!
Thank you for your response.

Thanks also for the reality check. I guess the expense is a relative thing... I've been unemployed for awhile and am now a returning student so even a few dollars SEEMS like a lot. I'll be really happy to get to a point when a few dollars (or even a few hundred!) are not an issue.

I don't know that I'll ever sell any of my pastel works. I consider myself primarily a glass artist (although, granted, I'm new at that too!) and this one is my first ever pastel painting. I've done a few others since then but this one is really important to me because of that 'first' thing. But you're right, even though I'm not selling it I shouldn't undervalue it by cutting corners on important things.

Thank you, again! Have a great weekend!